Skip to main content

Full text of "Gen. Stevenson"

See other formats


'^ ***feF">*. 



N fift #M P 


ar g.-^.^'.'^. ^ ^n-Mr TSwg? 

^7 r mm 

1 ' .' '• 

* • 7 



t fT 











F^'SsfflK- ' ■« 

* _ :> * > 

| Fig 







if Fi mmll^H ' 





C/Oyyv Jku^Lo je. f) 




Thomas Greely Stevenson, the sec- 
ond child and elder son of J. Thomas 
and Hannah Hooper Stevenson, was 
born at Boston on the third day of 
February, a. d. 1836. 

His boyhood was a happy one. 
Beloved and confided in by his young 
companions, he always took a great 
interest in the manly sports becoming 
his age; and he exerted an influence 
over his peers which could be ac- 
counted for only by his possession of 
those remarkable qualities which de- 
veloped themselves so fully in his riper 

He was of a contented and very 
cheerful disposition, — always looking 
upon the bright side of everything. 
When he was very young, his mother, 
as she left his bedside, said to him : 
" Before you go to sleep, my son, say 
your prayers, and ask God for any 
blessings which you need." His 
prompt reply was : " Mother, I have 
so many blessings now, that it would 
be wrong to ask for any more." The 
same spirit which prompted this reply 
seemed to actuate him through life. 

Educated in the schools of his native 
city, he at an early age evinced a de- 
cided preference for the active pur- 
suits of a commercial life. 

When he was sixteen years of age 
he entered the counting-house of one 
of our most active merchants, whose 


entire love and confidence he at once 
secured and never lost. 

Faithful to every trust, recognizing 
every proper responsibility, quick in 
the performance of every duty, prompt, 
but careful where the rights or the 
interests of others were involved, un- 
swerving in his integrity, unselfish al- 
most to a defect, he never failed to 
secure to himself both the affection 
and the respect of those whom he 
was connected with in the affairs of 

Justice always seemed to be the cen- 
tral light of his character. 

Himself as open as the day, it was 
very difficult to shake his confidence 
in others. But, if it were shaken, it 
would be to the party himself that his 
mistrust would be first communicated 

with a fearlessness and a frankness that 
would become many an older man. 

His love of home amounted to a 
passion. During the whole period of 
his absence it was his daily practice to 
write a letter home ; and he always 
spoke of his native city as " dear old 
Boston." From his boyhood up his 
intercourse with his parents, as well as 
with his sister, who was older, and 
with his brother, who was younger 
than himself, was remarkable for the 
closeness of its intimacy and the con- 
fidence of its companionship. 

When he and his brother, in 1861, 
left the home which they had done so 
much to make happy, the only parting 
words of their father, around whose 
heart they had wound themselves till 
they seemed to be a part of it, were : 

" Be as good soldiers as you have been 
sons. Your country cannot ask more 
than that, and God will bless you." 

The first flash of the rebellion awak- 
ened him to a full sense of the re- 
sponsibilities of young men to the 
nation, devoted him with all his en- 
ergies to his country, and enlisted him 
in her cause in a war (the magnitude 
of which he seemed to foresee and 
concerning the issue of which he 
never indulged a doubt) for the sup- 
port of her Constitution, for the vin- 
dication of the power of her govern- 
ment and of the enlarged liberties of 
her people. 

He applied himself with great in- 
dustry to the careful study of military 
subjects, and few persons did more 
than he to inspire the military spirit 

and the patriotic purpose of the young 
men of Boston, or to give to these 
their proper direction. 

His power of impressing other men, 
his executive ability, and his wonder- 
ful self-control, fitted him for the 
command of others. 

The tenderness of his heart made 
it certain that the well-being of his 
subordinates would be his chief care. 
In a conversation at the first breaking 
out of the rebellion upon the subject 
of the kind of men needed for sol- 
diers, to a remark that " mere ma- 
chines were best fitted for privates," 
he replied with a good deal of earnest- 
ness : " You are mistaken, — what I 
want for a soldier is a feeling, thinking 
man, capable of using his own body 
as a machine, if you please, but still 


a feeling, thinking man, especially in 
such a war as this will be," — and 
his bearing towards his men was al- 
ways in accordance with that senti- 
ment. He always respected not only 
the rights but the feelings of those 
under him, and this accounts for the 
peculiar attachment to him of all those 
who served with him. 

In the spring of 1 86 1 he was Or- 
derly Sergeant of the New England 
Guards, and upon the organization of 
the Fourth Battalion of Mass. Infantry 
he was elected to the captaincy of one 
of its companies. 

The Battalion, being ordered to gar- 
rison Fort Independence in Boston 
harbor, went there on the 25th of 
April, under command of their young 


On the 4th of May he was elected 
and commissioned as Major of that 
fine corps, which soon became distin- 
guished for its precision of drill and 
exact discipline under his instruction 
and command. 

The rank and file of the corps was 
made up of his associates and com- 
panions, and the readiness with which 
they subjected themselves to the rigid 
discipline which he instituted, and the 
strong personal attachment which the 
members evinced for their commander, 
were very honorable alike to them 
and to him. 

That organization proved to be in- 
deed a school for officers. Of the 
members who performed duty at Fort 
Independence, nearly all entered the 
military service of the United States. 

On the 31st of August, x86i, Ma- 
jor Stevenson received from Governor 
Andrew authority to raise and to or- 
ganize a regiment of Volunteers for 
the service of the country. Under 
this authority he associated with him- 
self young gentlemen of intelligence 
and culture, and proceeded to recruit 
for the ranks with great care. He 
steadily refused to accept any organized 
bodies of men, for the reason that at 
that time such bodies had a voice in 
the selection of their own company 
officers, a privilege which he deemed 
to be incompatible with the exact dis- 
cipline necessary in an army. 

On the 7th of September he went 
into camp at Readville, Massachusetts, 
with about twenty enlisted men, where 
he and the officers associated with him 


devoted themselves to recruiting, or- 
ganizing, and drilling the Twenty- 
fourth Regiment of Massachusetts 
Volunteer Infantry. The camp at 
Readville was a pattern of neatness 
and good order. The regiment was 
assigned to the command of General 
Burnside, in the movement upon 
North Carolina, and left the State 
for the field on the ninth day of De- 
cember, 1 86 1, in excellent condition. 
At Annapolis Colonel Stevenson's com- 
mand was assigned to the Brigade of 
General John G. Foster, an officer 
whose friendship, contracted in the 
service, he valued very highly. 

He led the Twenty-fourth Regiment 
at Roanoke Island on the 8th of Feb- 
ruary, 1862. The following letter, 
written immediately after it had been 

1 1 

in the presence of the enemy for the 
first time, gives an account of the 
surrender of the Rebel forces on that 

" Roanoke Island, February 9th, 1862. 

<c Dear Mother, — 

<c I commenced a letter intending to 
give to you an account of the whole en- 
gagement, but finding that it would require 
more time than is at my disposal, I will 
send to you an outline of what we did and 
leave you to the papers for particulars. 
After remaining aground through the night 
of the 7th instant, disgusted by the delay, 
for I had been informed that our forces 
were landing, we were taken off our vessel 
at seven in the morning, and carried to the 
c landing ' where General Burnside was. 
We jumped ashore briskly and formed line. 
Two of my companies were delayed in get- 
ting ashore by their craft drawing too much 


water. So I started for the front, with 
seven companies, to report to General Fos- 
ter, who was fighting a battery at some dis- 
tance from the landing. As we marched up 
we passed the dead and the wounded ; and 
in every case but one the latter were in the 
finest spirits, crying out to us, c Go in, 
boys,' etc., etc. Just as we were turning 
in to face the battery, there was a yell, a 
charge, and it was gained. General Foster 
immediately directed me to push on in pur- 
suit and to engage the enemy, who would, 
it was supposed, make a stand at the next 
battery. But they continued their flight 
towards the end of the Island. Had they 
known that we were but seven companies, 
they would have, assuredly, shown more 
fight. While in the pursuit, being at the 
head of the regiment, rapidly advancing, I 
was met by Lieutenant-Colonel Poor, with 
a flag of truce, inquiring for the command- 
ing General. Upon being carried to Gen- 

J 3 

eral Foster, who was with us, he stated that 
he was sent by Colonel Shaw, the com- 
mander of the Island, to ask for a suspen- 
sion of hostilities until the next morning. 
The General replied : c Say to Colonel 
Shaw that nothing but an unconditional 
surrender, and that immediate, will answer. 
And you may tell him that we have fifteen 
thousand troops like those/ pointing to the 
Twenty-fourth, f all drilled as well as regu- 

" Bob [Major R. H. Stevenson] was 
then detailed to accompany the flag of 
truce back for Colonel Shaw's answer. 
After they had travelled a short distance, 
Colonel Poor inquired whether that was a 
full regiment which he had seen ; but, upon 
Bob's replying, c I am detailed to receive 
your commanding officer's reply to General 
Foster's conditions, and can confer upon no 
other subject,' they pursued their way in 
silence until thev arrived at the Rebel 


camp, where there were about two thousand 
men. Around the door of Head-Quarters 
was a crowd of officers with very glum 
countenances. Colonel Poor gave to Colo- 
nel Shaw, who was seated in front of the 
fire smoking a pipe, General Foster's mes- 
sage, word for word as he had received it. 
Whereupon he rose, gazed into the fire, 
apparently in deep thought, for some mo- 
ments, then, turning round, said, c I must 
surrender,' and asked Bob whether he would 
receive his sword. l No, Sir ; General Fos- 
ter will be here in a very short time to 
receive it in person.' With this the Major 
faces about, and finding Major William- 
son's splendid horse at the door, . saddled 
and waiting for him, he mounts and starts 
back for the regiment. During his absence 
I sent two companies forward on the east- 
erly side, who succeeded in making pris- 
oners of a large number of men, who were 
putting off* in boats, but who were induced, 

l 5 

by a few volleys, to return. The flag of 
truce was absent so long that the General, 
informing me that he feared foul play, 
ordered an advance. We had not pro- 
ceeded more than a hundred yards, when 
we met him, on his Secesh charger, with the 
news of the surrender. So we marched into 
their camp, where we found two battalions 
and three regiments of infantry. The com- 
mand was assigned to me, and you would 
have been amused, could you have heard 
the speeches of several of the officers to 
me upon delivering over their commands. 
General Foster has permitted me to send 
the colors of the Eighth North Carolina 
Regiment, which were surrendered to us, 
to the State of Massachusetts, and I shall 
do so. ... . 

£C . . . . You must not be anxious at 
home, for Bob and all of us are tip-top. 
" Affectionately, 



" Roanoke Island, February nth, 1862. 

cc To His Excellency John A. Andrew, 
Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 

cc Sir, — By the kind permission of Gen- 
eral Foster, I have the honor and gratifi- 
cation of presenting to the Commonwealth 
of Massachusetts the accompanying flag, 
surrendered to the Twenty-fourth Regi- 
ment Massachusetts Volunteers, by the 
Eighth North Carolina Regiment, Colonel 
H. M. Shaw commanding, on the after- 
noon of the 8th of February, 1862, at this 

<c The bravery and steadiness of the 
Massachusetts troops engaged in the late 
battle will, no doubt, be communicated to 
you by others. It was mainly due to the 
courage of the Twenty-first, Twenty-third, 
Twenty-fifth, and Twenty-seventh Massa- 
chusetts Regiments, displayed at the first 
battery, that the enemy, on our further 

l 7 

advance, preferred to surrender rather than 
fight us. 

<c It would have afforded me great pleas- 
ure to send one of my officers with the 
flag, but such a course would have deprived 
him of the opportunity of continuing with 
our expedition. 

" Very respectfully, 

"Your obedient servant, 

cc Thomas G. Stevenson. 

Col. z\tb Regt. Mass. Vol:' 

The next battle, in which he com- 
manded the Twenty-fourth Regiment, 
was that of Newbern, on the fourteenth 
day of March, 1862; where his cool- 
ness and intrepidity under the severe 
fire to which it was exposed seemed 
to inspire the young officers by whom 
he was surrounded, and did much to 
secure the steady and unwavering con- 
duct which distinguished his men. 


He was not ambitious of promotion. 
Upon the reorganization of General 
Burnside's forces in North Carolina, 
in April, 1862, he was assigned to the 
command of a brigade in General Fos- 
ter's Division, which he accepted, after 
much hesitation on account of his 
youth and of his apprehension that 
the chances of war might separate 
him from the Twenty-fourth Regi- 
ment. Had he consulted only his 
own predilections, he would have asked 
to have been excused from this in- 
creased honor and responsibility. But 
the officers about him, who knew him, 
urged that he owed it both to himself 
and to the service to accept the com- 
mand, which consisted of the Twenty- 
fourth and Twenty-seventh Massachu- 
setts, Tenth Connecticut, and Fifth 

l 9 

Rhode Island Regiments, and he did 

He served through the campaign of 
1862 in North Carolina, always beloved 
and honored. During that time he 
was the trusted commander of several 
expeditions into the interior of that 

In General Foster's movement to- 
wards Tarboro in November of that year, 
his brigade consisting of the Twenty- 
fourth and Forty-fourth Massachusetts, 
Tenth Connecticut, Fifth Rhode Island 
Regiments, and Belger's Rhode Island 
Battery, had the advance. The official 
report of the commanding General 
concludes as follows : — 

" I desire to mention, particularly, the 
efficient conduct of Colonel Stevenson, 
commanding the Second Brigade, and of 


Colonel Potter, of the First North Caro- 
lina Union Volunteers. I recommend that 
Colonel Stevenson, for his efficient services 
on this march, and in the affairs at Little 
Creek and at Rawl's Mills, as well as pre- 
vious services at the battles of Roanoke 
and Newbern, be promoted to the rank of 
Brigadier-General, to date from November 
3, 1862." 

He led the same brigade in the 
movement undertaken, in December, 
to Goldsboro, in connection with the 
attack, by the Army of the Potomac, 
upon the enemy at Fredericksburg ; 
and distinguished himself by the ra- 
pidity of his movements upon that 
march, by his disposition of his troops, 
and by his conduct in the battles of 
Kinston on the 14th, of Whitehall on 
the 1 6th, and of Goldsboro on the 
17th of that month. 


His sterling qualities had secured 
to him the unlimited confidence of 
his commanding officers, for both of 
whom he entertained a very affection- 
ate respect. General Burnside wrote 
of him : — 

c< I know no Colonel in the army who 
would make a more efficient brigadier- 
general. He has shown great courage 
and skill in action, and in organization 
and discipline he has no superior/' 

And General Foster wrote of him : — 

" He stands as high as any officer or 
soldier of the army of the United States 
on the list of noble, loyal, and devoted 
men. His bravery, and, more than that, 
his daring gallantry, have been exhibited on 
all the fields of conflict in North Carolina ; 
and in all he has proved himself modest, 
self-denying, patriotic, and strictly obedient 
to orders." 


Governor Andrew wrote of him : — 

cc Many of the noblest sons of Massa- 
chusetts are yielding up their lives in our 
common defence. To-day the smoke of 
battle veils the lifeless form of Brigadier- 
General Stevenson, — a son of Boston, — 
a volunteer of Massachusetts, — a faithful 
citizen, — a devoted, able, and dauntless 
soldier, one of our worthiest offerings on 
our country's altar, who, falling at the 
head of a division composed mainly of 
volunteers of our own Commonwealth, 
has carried the great appeal beyond the 
dread arbitrament of arms." 

And, upon the dissolution of the 
Twenty-fourth Regiment, Governor 
Bullock said of him: — 

"When I think of the discipline of the 
Twenty-fourth, distinguished among all the 
armies of the United States, I cannot for- 

2 3 

get him who recruited it and so long com- 
manded it. It would be an omission un- 
grateful to you and uncongenial to my own 
feelings, if, before your ranks dissolve for 
the last time, I were not to pronounce in 
your presence, with honor to the dead and 
with .respect for the living, the name of 
Brigadier-General Stevenson. Not a more 
heroic spirit has passed triumphantly the 
portals which this war has opened to so 
many young and noble and brave." 

And Major-General A. H. Terry, in 
whose division he was in the Depart- 
ment of the South, wrote of him : — 

" No one could more fully than myself 
have appreciated the brilliant and amiable 
qualities of General Stevenson, and no one 
more sincerely lamented his early death. 
His memory will always be preserved by 
those who were his comrades as of a brave 


and gifted soldier, and a man whose sim- 
plicity and purity of character commanded 
alike the respect and affection of all who 
knew him." 

He was proud of the regiment which 
he had organized, jealous of its honor, 
and always sure that every duty which 
should devolve upon it in the various 
circumstance of war would be well 
performed ; and they, in return, seemed 
to idolize their youthful commander. 
The personal regard and the affection- 
ate respect which were felt towards 
him by those who served under him, 
were no less complete than the confi- 
dence which was reposed in him by 
his superior officers. For, although he 
was a very exact disciplinarian, his care 
for the well-being of the men com- 
mitted to his charge endeared him to 

2 5 

Many a sick and wounded officer 
and private found substantial comfort 
in his cheerful and welcome voice 
when he visited them. When, in 
the disposition of troops in North 
Carolina, it was contemplated to trans- 
fer the Tenth Connecticut Regiment 
from the brigade, which he was com- 
manding, the following application, 
signed by all the officers of that ex- 
cellent regiment, who were on duty 
at the time, was complied with by 
the general commanding the depart- 
ment : — 

" General, — The undersigned, officers 
of the Tenth Regiment Connecticut Vol- 
unteers, having been informed that the 
regiment is to be transferred from the 
command of Colonel Thomas G. Steven- 
son, do respectfully petition that we may 


be permitted to remain under his com- 
mand ; for we have learned to love and 
to respect him as a commanding ofncer, 
and we believe it to be for the good of our 
regiment in every respect to remain in his 

The final report of the Forty-fourth 
Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, 
which formed part of his brigade in 
North Carolina, says : — 

<c I cannot close this final report without 
endeavoring to express the feeling of every 
member of this regiment in regard to our 
commanding officers. We were fortunate 
enough to serve under brigade and division 
generals who won, not only the respect, but 
the love, of all who served under them. 
Brigadier-Generals Thomas G. Stevenson 
and Henry W. Wessells were men whose 
fidelity to duty, unremitting care for the 
welfare of their men, and entire self-forget- 

2 7 

fulness, always gave the best stimulus to 
the men of their command, a good example. 
The men of Stevenson's Brigade will never 
forget that, after the toilsome march, often 
late into the night, they always found their 
General waiting to make sure that every- 
thing, which the circumstances permitted, 
was done for their comfort, — that the last 
quarters located were his, and the last weary 
man relieved from duty was their General, 
— that, however cheerless the bivouac, or 
however stormy the night, he never left 
them to avail himself of the proffered com- 
forts of head-quarters." 

And the report of the Twenty-first 
Regiment, which was in his division 
when he fell, says:^- 

" We have suffered an irretrievable loss 
in the death of General Stevenson, by one 
of the chance shots of the enemy's sharp- 


shooters. General Stevenson had been but 
a short time in command of the division, 
but his gentlemanly and soldierly bearing 
from the first, his sympathy with his men, 
especially shown in their late marches under 
him, and his brave conduct during the bat- 
tle of the c Wilderness,' where he was sur- 
rounded by Rebels and almost captured or 
slain, and saved only by his coolness and 
invincible spirit of courage, had endeared 
him to all. His youth gave an additional 
charm to his conduct in life, and brought 
added sorrow and sympathy in his death." 

And in the same manner all those 
brave men, both officers and privates, 
who served under him, bear witness 
to their regard for him. 

Colonel Stevenson was promoted to 
the rank of brigadier-general on the 
27th of December, 1862, upon the 

2 9 

recommendation of his commanding 
officer, for gallantry and efficiency in 
the field. 

In February, 1863, he accompanied 
General Foster to South Carolina, 
where he was attached to the Tenth 
Army Corps, and served with the same 
distinction through the campaign of 
that year under Generals Hunter and 
Gilmore in the Department of the 

On the 28th of March, in anticipa- 
tion of the first combined attack, by 
Admiral Dupont and General Hunter, 
upon Fort Sumter, he landed upon, 
and took possession of, Seabrook Island, 
where he established such fortifications 
as would, in his judgment, enable him 
to hold that position at the mouth of 
the Edisto. When the other forces 


of the expedition returned to Hilton 
Head, he remained at that post in 
command of the Twenty-fourth Mas- 
sachusetts, Tenth Connecticut, Fifty- 
sixth New York, and Ninety-seventh 
Pennsylvania Regiments, with Ash- 
croft's Rhode Island Battery, and Cap- 
tain Walker's Company of New York 
Engineers, until the subsequent move- 
ment by General Gilmore, in July of 
the same year, upon Folly and Morris 

The maintenance of that position, 
in so close proximity to the enemy and 
at a point so accessible to his forces, 
required constant vigilance and great 
circumspection. On the night of the 
9th of July he moved his forces from 
Seabrook to James Island, where he 
remained upon very fatiguing duty 

until the 17th, when, the object of 
the movement having been accom- 
plished, his brigade was ordered to 
Morris Island, where he landed it on 
the 1 8th, the day of the assault upon 
Fort Wagner, during which he com- 
manded the reserves. During the sub- 
sequent operations upon Morris Island, 
in the siege of Charleston, he labored 
with great assiduity in command of the 
Twenty-fourth and Fifty-fourth Mas- 
sachusetts, Seventh and Tenth Connect- 
icut, Third, Fourth, and Seventh New 
Hampshire, Ninth and Eleventh Maine, 
One Hundredth New York, Ninety- 
seventh Pennsylvania, and Second South 
Carolina Regiments. 

Early in 1864 sickness, caused by 
constant exposure and severe service 
in South Carolina, made it necessary 

3 2 

that he should come to the North ; 
and in April of that year he was 
ordered to report to his old command- 
er, General Burnside, at Annapolis, 
where he was assigned to the com- 
mand of the First Division of the 
Ninth Army Corps, composed of the 
Fourth and Tenth United States In- 
fantry, Twenty-first, Thirty-fifth, Fif- 
ty-sixth, Fifty-seventh, and Fifty-ninth 
Massachusetts, Third Maryland, One 
Hundredth Pennsylvania Regiments, 
and the Fourteenth Massachusetts and 
Second Maine Batteries. 

He passed through Washington on 
the 25th of April with that division, 
commanded it in the battle of the 
Wilderness on the 6th of May, and 
was at its head when he was killed, 
at Spottsylvania, on the morning of 
the 10th of that month. 


Thus his young life, full of happi- 
ness in the past and equally full of 
promise for the future, was devoted to 
his country, with no ambitious purpose, 
but from as pure a sense of duty as can 
have actuated anybody in the terrible 
ordeal through which the nation was 

In his military career he was hon- 
ored far beyond his years, but not be- 
yond his acknowledged deserts. Many 
who were older and of larger experi- 
ence than himself, sought his counsel 
and aid. 

It fell to his lot, during nearly the 
whole term of his service, to occupy 
higher positions and to hold larger 
commands than belonged to his exist- 
ing rank. He felt the full weight of 
the large responsibilities which thus 


frequently devolved upon him, but he 
never shrank from them ; and he made 
for himself a record of honor in the 
military annals of his country. 

He was peculiarly fit for a leader. 
True manliness was his marked char- 
acteristic. Generous, truthful, liberal 
in his judgments of others, forgetful of 
self, genial in disposition, and frank 
in his intercourse with every one, he 
made many friends ; and his easy fa- 
miliarity never detracted from the re- 
spect which the true dignity of his 
character inspired. He shrank in- 
stinctively from all unnecessary display. 
Modest almost to bashfulness, he was 
nevertheless very determined in the 
support of any opinions which he had 
formed, and in the execution of any 
work which he had undertaken. 


Quick in the perception of danger, 
cautious in preparing for it, he was as 
bold as the boldest in confronting it. 

Conscientious in the full discharge 
of his duties, he looked upon no detail, 
which could by possibility affect either 
the condition of his troops, or the pro- 
gress of the cause in which he was 
engaged, as too minute for his per- 
sonal supervision and care. 

He shared in full measure all the 
privations, all the hardships, all the 
dangers to which he exposed any of 
his men, and they appreciated his 

He will be mourned for most bv 


those who were most intimately asso- 
ciated with him, as he has been loved 
best by those who knew him best. 
Upon the arrival of his remains at 


Boston, public honors to his memory 
were promptly tendered by the au- 
thorities both of the City and of the 
State ; but his family, acting upon 
what they knew would have been his 
own wish, decided that the last trib- 
utes should be attended by no public 

His manly form sleeps at Mount 
Auburn. It was not vouchsafed to 
him to rejoice over a finished war. 
A finished war ! Yes, for those whose 
sons and brothers are returning to the 
homes that have been longing for 
them, the war is over. But for those 
— alas, how many! — who must look 
in vain for the faces of those they love 
in the returning columns, it will not 
be over till they meet the loved ones 
they have lost in another world. 


O, may the wintry winds of grief 
not chill our bleeding hearts, nor 
freeze over the full fountains of our 
affections ! When will bitter tears of 
anguish cease to flow over losses that 
cannot be retrieved on earth, so that 
the sweet memories of their lives may 
dwell with us as ministering angels of 
consolation and of peace ? 

The associations which gather 
around his memory will be open 
fountains of comfort to his bereaved 
family. A better son, a dearer broth- 
er, a more steadfast friend, a truer pa- 
triot, a braver soldier, or a more gal- 
lant officer, has not been taken from 
the country which he served, or from 
the home which he made happy. 

The flowers that withered on his 
bier were beautiful tokens of affection 


and respect from many friends who 
loved and honored him ; but the fol- 
lowing tributes, being in more endur- 
ing form, can be gathered into a 
garland to his memory. 

Extract from a Sermon delivered by Rev. 
H. W. Foote, at Kings Chapel, Whit- 
sunday, May 15th, 1864. 

" In the house of God, shadowed 
again by the cloud which darkens all 
the land, I need no excuse for repeat- 
ing thus again the consolations which, 
alas ! we have so often needed. Victory 
comes to us shrouded in sackcloth. 

Fain would I speak as they deserve 
of those two sons of this Church whose 
names shall shine as stars in your tear- 
ful remembrance. Kindred in blood, 
in courage, in natural aptitude for the 


profession of arms, it was allotted to 
them, upon the same day, to pass from 
the world of conflict to the world of 
peace. But how differently in all be- 

The one, * whose impetuous spirit 
led him, three years ago, into the dan- 
gers from which his few years might 
well have kept him, wounded then, 
so impressed the Secretary of War by 
his demeanor that he voluntarily gave 
to him a commission in the regular 
army. He distinguished himself both 
in the East and the West ; and es- 
pecially in the battle of Chickamauga, 
where, being in command of his bat- 
tery, he was the only officer who 
brought off all his guns, for which he 

* Lieutenant Frank Dutton Russell. 


was commended in general orders. 
He was then in his nineteenth year. 

But it was ordered that he should 
pass from earth, not in the hot breath 
of war, but by the slow decay of a 
lingering sickness. Exposure and fa- 
tigue did on him their work. Long 
resisted, they overcame at length, and 
he came home to die, as much to be 
bewept and honored, as much an offer- 
ing in his country's service, as if the 
storms of this week of tempest had 
borne him hence. 

In these tremendous scenes did the 
call come to him, to whom, so widely 
loved, so truly honored, silence and 
tears were our most fitting tribute. 

Your own remembrance tells you 
how the Twenty-fourth Regiment 
bore the impress of his forming care ; 


how he led it as its colonel ; how in 
both the Carolinas he served faith- 
fully and well. Always intrusted with 
greater responsibilities than his rank 
implied, he was an Acting General 
while yet a Colonel ; he was in these 
latter days a Division Commander. 

His superior officer seemed to have 
no bounds to his confidence in him. 
His men idolized him. His country 
has lost in him more than it can 
fully know. 

Dear, dear are the successes bought, 
for which such a price is paid ! Yet 
are we grateful that his young life was 
laid down on a great and glorious field; 
in the midst of triumphs, whose halo 
shall shine around his name. 

The nation shall be his mourners. 
Yet here, among those who knew him 


best, other reasons mingle with our 
sorrow beside the thought of the 
public loss. 

The warm, great-hearted nature, 
which knew no stint in the outpour- 
ing of affection ; loyal to the customs 
and instincts of his childhood, the 
companion and equal of his elders too ; 
the. frank sincere bearing, the modest, 
almost shrinking temperament, joined, 
as it so seldom is, to thorough man- 
liness of character, — these, in our 
thoughts of him, dim those shining 
qualities of public mark by the lustre 
of personal affection. 

To such memories, to such sorrows 
as these comes the day of the Holy 
Spirit a holy, an uplifting time. It 
speaks to us of the mighty comfort, 
the exhaustless consolations which are 


with that blessed Spirit of God ; it tells 
us that the Loving Father is nearer to 
the desolate heart even than the grief 
that weighs it down ; it reminds us of 
the promises, the immortal hopes of 
the Gospel of Christ. 

God grant that in the homes that 
sit this day alone with their sorrows 
His spirit of power and consolation 
may be present to give them " the 
garment of joy for the spirit of heavi- 
ness " ; and, as the earth at this season 
of hopefulness puts forth bud and blos- 
som from the dry stalk and the cold 
ground, so to cause the hearts that are 
smitten with desolation to put on the 
new vesture of a patient faith and a 
perfect resignation at the thought of 
the present darkness, and a perfect trust 
at the thought of the future light. So 


shall the communion of that spirit be 
with them. So may it be with us all, 
both now to keep our hearts in peace 
and hereafter to bring us to that heav- 
enly communion with Him and with 
Jesus, which is Love and Joy forever- 

Upon his shield, 

Upon his shield returning, 
Borne from the field of honor 

Where he fell; 
Glory and grief, together clasped 

In mourning, 
His fame, his fate 

With sobs exulting tell. 

Wrap round his heart 

The flag his breast defended, 
His country's flag 

In battle's front unrolled. 
For it he died. 

On earth forever ended, 
His brave young life 

Lives in each sacred fold. 


With proud, fond tears 

By tinge of shame untainted, 
Bear him and lay him 

Gently in his grave. 
Above the hero write, — 

The young half-sainted, — 
" His country asked his life, 

His life he gave." 

Boston, May 16th, 1864. 

Hon. J. Thomas Stevenson : — 

My dear Sir, — I thank you sin- 
cerely for the permission to assist as a 
friend at the last ceremonies of respect 
to the remains of your son. 

Had it been consistent with the feel- 
ings of his family, the public honors 
becoming to his rank would have been 
paid with a heartiness due to his char- 

My acquaintance with him had an 
official origin. It was maintained al- 
most wholly in relation to affairs with 
which both of us were officially con- 


cerned. And I have at all times been 
struck with the simplicity and courtesy 
of his manners, his unaffected dignity, 
and the capacity he had of impressing 
other men. 

To confer with him was always a 
pleasure, and never, as in cases some- 
times occurring, irksome or distract- 

His conduct in the spheres of com- 
mand which he occupied, fulfilled the 
best hopes of his warmest friends. No 
officer was more devoted to his duty, 
none ever contemplated his duty in 
greater subordination of self to its su- 
preme behest. No officer more fully 
won the respect and love of his men, 
whom it may be most truly declared 
that he always led rather than com- 


It is not for rne to presume to 
enter, with my poor words, the sacred 
retirement of domestic grief. But 
with heartfelt prayers for the favor 
of God on all the bereaved and 
stricken, and that out of all this sor- 
row may spring blessings and conso- 

I am, with respectful sympathy, 
Your friend and servant, 

John A, Andrew. 

Head-Quarters Ninth Army Corps, 
June 2, 1864. 

J. Thomas Stevenson, Esq^. : — 

Dear Sir, — The constant demands 
of this campaign have prevented my 
writing to you before this in relation 
to the death of your son, the lamented 
Brigadier-General Stevenson. 

As one of the earliest members of 
this organization, and as one most 
honorably identified with its victories 
in North Carolina, I have always de- 
sired his presence with it, and it was 
with the greatest satisfaction he was 

5 1 

welcomed back after his separation 
from it in the performance of other 

During the short time he was 
permitted to remain, a time memo- 
rable for its fatiguing marches and its 
constant succession of desperate en- 
gagements, his course was invariably 
marked by the most cheerful and un- 
tiring devotion to his duties and the 
most conspicuous gallantry ; and his 
death was deplored by the many new 
friends, who had in that time of trial 
learned to respect him, as well as by 
those older friends, to whom his worth 
had long been known. 

Permit me, Sir, to tender you my 
deepest sympathy under this bereave- 
ment, and, though the consolation may 
seem most inadequate, to assure you 


that your son has left a record, of 
which a father may well be proud. 
I am, most respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 

A. E. Burnside, 


Boston, May 17th, 1864. 

Dear Sir : — 

I enclose to you resolutions of re- 
spect to the memory of your son, Brig- 
adier-General Thomas G. Stevenson, 
passed by the Forty-fourth Regiment 
Massachusetts Volunteer Militia. 

The language of the resolve cannot 
express to you and your family the in- 
tense sympathy felt in your affliction 
by all who were so fortunate as to 
know General Stevenson, — more es- 
pecially by those who have served 
under him, — who have seen him ever 
thoughtless of self, ever thoughtful of 


others, and who have felt that upon 
his watchful care, good judgment and 
steady nerve they could always rely. 

To the officers, who had the pleas- 
ure of more intimate intercourse with 
him, he was always the kind friend and 
ready adviser. 

No one could, with more exquisite 
tact, draw that line between social and 
official intercourse, which must exist 
where good discipline is maintained ; 
and no officer could more confidently 
look for that devotion from his men 
which can only be secured by love of 
their leader. 

Whatever consolation there is in 
widely extended sympathy, in memo- 
ries of warm affection and loving inter- 
course, you surely have. 

His example still remains to ex- 


tend his usefulness even in death. 
Many a soldier will fight more stoutly, 
and be more loyal to duty and the 
great cause of his country, when he 
remembers how much has already been 
given to it, — that men like Sedgwick 
and Stevenson held their lives as noth- 
ing, when by giving them the country 
could be saved. 

God grant that his other self, your 
loved son Robert, may come safely 
through this struggle, and that he may 
be comforted and supported in this 
his deepest affliction. 

With my warmest sympathy to 
yourself and family, I am 

Your affectionate friend, 

Francis L. Lee. 

At a meeting of the officers and men 


of the Forty-fourth Regiment Massa- 
chusetts Volunteers, held upon the 
14th day of May, 1864, for the pur- 
pose of expressing their respect for the 
memory of Brigadier-General Thomas 
Greely Stevenson, the following reso- 
lutions were unanimously passed : — 

Whereas, Our former commander 
and much loved friend, Brigadier-Gen- 
eral Thomas Greely Stevenson, has 
closed an honorable and useful life 
by a glorious death, and has left to 
his country the rich legacy of a good 
example, it is 

Resolved, That we, who have been 
privileged to know him, — to serve 
under him, — to act under the stim- 
ulus of his influence, — and who, con- 
sequently, feel that in his death we 
have been called upon to part with 


one most near and dear to all of us, 
— desire to express to his family our 
warmest sympathy, and to pray to Al- 
mighty God that the remembrance of 
his past life, of his uncompromising 
devotion to duty, and of his noble 
services to his country may be a con- 
solation and a source of strength to 
them in the present hour of afflic- 

Resolved, That a copy of these pro- 
ceedings be transmitted to the family 
of General Stevenson. 

Chestnut Hill, May 12th, 1864. 

My Dear Sir : — 

I cannot express to you my deep 
sorrow at the sad tidings which have 
this day reached us of the death of 
your brave son. 

I can truly say there was not one 
among the host of heroes who went 
forth to defend our country, whom I 
have so zealously watched and in 
whom I have taken such pride. Sel- 
dom has one so young left a "name so 

Loved by all who knew him, his 
name was never mentioned by those 


who came in contact with him, 
whether as officers or as private sol- 
diers, unless in terms of the most ar- 
dent affection. Alas ! that he should 
be taken from you at this time, when 
more than ever you leaned upon him 
for comfort and support. No words of 
mine, I fear, can aid to sustain you. 
But that a merciful God may impart 
to his mother and yourself that holy 
resignation, which alone can enable you 
to bear your heavy burden of grief, is 
the earnest prayer of 

Your most sincere friend, 

Leverett Saltonstall. 

Boston, May 1 6th, 1864. 

Dear Sir : — 

At a meeting of the New England 
Guards, held on Saturday, May 14th, 
the following Resolutions, offered by 
Colonel Saltonstall, were unanimously 
adopted : — 

Resolved, That we have heard, 
with the deepest sorrow, of the 
death of Brigadier-General Thomas 
G. Stevenson. 

The loss of such a man in the 
flower of early manhood, at a moment 
like this, is a national calamity. 

He advanced the profession of 


arms by all the qualities that dignify 
and grace the career of a soldier. 

His courage was of the most per- 
fect temper, often tried and never 
found wanting ; but it was a courage 
that had no alloy of hardness or in- 
sensibility in it. Through all the 
hardships and exposures of war he 
preserved a tenderness of feeling and 
a gentleness of manner that won the 
love of all. 

Young as he was, he was emi- 
nently fitted to command others, for 
he had learned to command himself, 
and he was remarkable for his thought- 
ful consideration of those under him 
and for his utter forgetfulness of self. 
His kindness of heart, his disinterest- 
edness, combined with his lofty patriot- 
ism, his Christian courage, his perfect 


discharge of his duties, his strict en- 
forcement of discipline, secured to him 
the affection, confidence, and respect 
of all who served under him. 

At the time of his death there was 
no officer of his rank, in the whole 
army, who had secured a higher repu- 
tation, or gave higher promise of use- 
fulness to his countrv. 

Resolved, That we look back with 
sadness and tenderness upon the domes- 
tic virtues of our departed brother and 

His heart was warm, his principles 
strong, his understanding excellent. As 
a son, brother, and friend, he was lov- 
ing, faithful, and true. 

Had he lived, his capacity and 
force of character would have secured 
to him a place of usefulness and honor 


in the civic walks of life, and he would 
have been one of those to whom the 
community would have looked for 
counsel and support. 

Resolved, That we desire to ex- 
press to the afflicted family of this 
brave young man, who has fallen in 
his country's cause, our deepest sym- 
pathy, and, therefore, we will send to 
them a copy of these resolutions. 

In communicating to you the 
action of the New England Guards, 
I may be allowed to express my heart- 
felt sympathy in your bereavement. 
Having had the honor of a personal 
friendship with your lamented son, the 
tidings of his death came to my own 
heart with peculiar bitterness.^ 

No one who knew him as I did 

6 4 

could do less than love him. Truly 
" none named him but to praise." 
Very respectfully and truly 

Your obedient servant, 
William T. R. Marvin, 

Clerk N. E. G. 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 

Head-Quarters, Boston, May 16th, 1864. 

General Order No. 16. 

In honor of the memory of Briga- 
dier-General Thomas G. Stevenson, 
whose funeral ceremonies occur this 
day, and of all the heroic men of 
Massachusetts, who have fallen in the 
battles of the Wilderness, and upon 
the conquering march of the Army 
of the Potomac, the national flags upon 
the State House, the Arsenal at Cam- 
bridge, and the various public offices 
and buildings, and at the military posts 
and camps throughout the Common- 


wealth, will be displayed from noon 
to sunset at half-mast. 

The soldier has died content, who 
has fallen in the arms of victory, amid 
the grateful tears of a people, whose 
liberties he has helped to save by his 
valor, his devotion, and his blood. 
John A. Andrew, 

Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 

William Schouler, 

Adjutant- General. 

Mayor's Office, City Hall, Boston, 
May 14, 1864. 

As a mark of respect to the memory 
and public military services of our fel- 
low-citizen, the late Brigadier-General 
Thomas G. Stevenson, it is ordered 
that the flags on our public buildings 
be displayed at half-mast on Monday, 
the 1 6th instant, the day assigned for 
his funeral. 

F. W. Lincoln, Jun., Mayor. 

Extract from a Letter from Colonel F. 
A. shorn, of 'the 'Twenty '-fourth Regi- 
ment, to a Friend. 

I feel General Stevenson's death 
very deeply, and yet I do not think 
that I fully realize it. 

We have been associated so long 
and so intimately, and I have enjoyed 
his friendship so much, that I cannot 
bring it home to my mind that he 
has gone, never more to be seen on 

He was a noble fellow and well 
deserved the praises that have been 
lavished upon him. 


He was straightforward and manly, 
with a tender heart, good principles, 
high moral courage, strong common- 
sense, and a superior judgment. 

He was devoted to his duty and 
thoroughly reliable. With no greater 
love for the profession of arms than I 
have, he yet pursued it with a zeal that 
seemed to spring from a strong predi- 

His social qualities were very re- 
markable. I never met a man who 
was his equal for making friends and 
retaining them ; and this in all classes, 
whether superior or subordinate in 
rank, whether equal or inferior in 
education and social position. 

There was no one of my friends 
for whom I cherished a warmer affec- 
tion, or in whom I had a more con- 


fiding trust. For counsel or for aid 
I would have applied to him unhesi- 
tatingly, sure of meeting with the 
heartiest response. 

Extract from a Letter from an Officer 
of the 'Twenty-fourth Regiment to his 

In the loss of the officers of the 
Twenty-fourth, who have been killed, 
we have indeed suffered severely. 

General Stevenson, for we have al- 
ways counted him in the Twenty- 
fourth, Mason Rea, Charlie Ward, and 
Edgar Clough, are spirits we can ill 
afford to lose. 

Tom, as we have always called him 
and always shall, was, as you know, 
loved by all his old companions in 

7 2 

the regiment with a peculiar affection, 
springing out of the many associations 
of an army life, which so strongly con- 
nects intimate friends. We get, it is 
true, to regard death with a certain 
composure, and to take it, in a meas- 
ure, as a matter of course ; but when 
it takes away from us one such as he, 
its dread influence strikes us with ter- 
rific force. We say " good by " to 
him with a terrible sinking in our 
hearts, — we cannot bear to mention 
him to one another, for we but too 
forcibly realize that in him the country 
and his friends have lost the support 
of as noble a heart as ever beat. 

I never knew one so conscientious 
in the performance of his duty, or 
truer in his friendship than General 


Peace to his ashes and glory to his 

These lines from Virginius have 
been running in my head for several 
days : — 

" Now, for the brightness of his smile, must have eter- 
nal gloom ; 
And, for the music of his voice, the silence of the 


Head-Quarters, Second Army Corps. 

My Dear Mrs. Stevenson, — 

You received me so kindly when 
I was at home, and seemed so glad 
to hear what I had to say about Tom, 
that I think that you may be glad to 
receive one more tribute to his mem- 
ory from one who, however inferior 
in rank, knew and loved him well. 

From my position on the Staff of 
the late First Division, Ninth Army 
Corps, I can appreciate, perhaps better 
than almost any one else, the loss 
which those excellent but. unfortu- 
nate troops, as well as, more generally, 


the army and the country, sustained in 
consequence of his death. 

He was the most gallant, brave, 
and thorough soldier, the most kind- 
hearted, generous-spirited man, the 
most just and considerate chief, and 
one of the most agreeable companions 
I ever knew. 

I always had liked him, and while 
I was upon his staff I became very 
deeply attached to him. He did every- 
thing for me that man could do and 
always thought of my lameness. 

He was the most conscientious 
man in the performance of his duty. 
The least trifles he would attend to 
himself, always doing twice as much 
as could be expected of him. 

When viewed in the light of an 
intimate official relation with him and 

7 6 

with others, his character and military 
abilities seem even brighter and more 
fully satisfactory than on that sad tenth 
of May when I saw him last. 

He would have been, in my opin- 
ion, with the experience of large oper- 
ations, which he would have gained 
so rapidly and so thoroughly in the 
campaign of 1864, one of the best, 
if not the very best division com- 
mander in the army of the Potomac. 

When I think of what his Divis- 
ion subsequently went through, and 
what it might have done, had he 
been there to command it, it becomes 
doubly hard to bear his loss. 

There are many who can bear tes- 
timony to his great military abilities, 
but no one, who has not served on his 
staff or held some equally intimate 


official relation with him, can fully 
appreciate the wonderful combination 
in his character of the soldier and 
the man for which he was so pre- 
eminently distinguished. 

The strictness with which his staff 
were held to account officially, and the 
great kindness and consideration with 
which they were invariably treated 
personally, have been entirely un- 
equalled anywhere in my somewhat 
varied experience. 

With no other General have I 
felt, as I did with him, that officially 
I could never expect anything but the 
strictest justice, while privately I was 
with a most kind, congenial, and 
agreeable friend. 

I might say much more, but feel 
that I have written enough to show 


that, although with him only for a 
short three weeks, I had learned to 
love and to admire him as much as 
every one who knew him must have. 
With regards to Mr. Stevenson and 
Bob, and the warmest sympathy with 
all of you, I am, 

Very sincerely yours, 

Charles J. Mills. 

Boston, May 27th, 1864. 

My Dear Sir, — 

You and your family have my sin- 
cerest sympathy in your great sorrow. 

I am very glad of my good fortune 
in knowing your son before the war. 
In those pleasant days we were often 
together, and his many admirable qual- 
ities inspired me with a strong regard 
and respect. He was one of the man- 
liest men I ever met ; and his generous 
nature, his cheerful spirit, and his up- 
rightness combined to make him at 
once a favorite and a trusted leader. 

His administration of affairs at Fort 


Independence has always seemed to me 
most honorable to him, and there is 
little danger of estimating too highly 
his services as commander of the 
Fourth Battalion. He took with him 
to the Fort young men in the first 
flush of youth. Many of them had 
just entered the ranks of the New 
England Guards, and were ignorant of 
even the rudiments of the profession 
of the soldier. They were his equals 
in social position, many of them were 
his intimate personal friends, and they 
were all accustomed to the indulgences 
of a prosperous city, and without ex- 
perience of any other restraint than 
the light control of a peaceful, well- 
ordered community. They were full 
of the exuberance of spirits which 
naturally accompanies youth and health 

and vigor, and it was hardly to be ex- 
pected that they would regard their 
stay at the Fort as a service, in which 
the unquestioning obedience and punc- 
tual regularity of the soldier would be 
strictly required of them. But Fort 
Independence began in an incredibly 
short space of time to assume the ap- 
pearance of a post garrisoned by well- 
trained soldiers. The tact and skill of 
the young commander were illustrated 
daily by the rapid progress of his com- 
mand. His men became proficients in 
the school of the soldier, and made 
such progress in the school of the bat- 
talion, that, upon their return to Bos- 
ton, they made an exhibition almost 
without precedent in the history of the 
City. These young men, who left 
Boston hardly knowing anything of 


the duties of the soldier, returned in 
a month with a large fund of valuable 
knowledge, and, what was more valu- 
able than all, with a clear understand- 
ing of the necessity, in military life, 
of ready and unquestioning obedience. 
Nearly all of them subsequently en- 
tered the military service of the United 
States. They distinguished themselves 
in all the grades and in every arm of 
the service. They contributed largely 
to the efficiency of the Second, Twen- 
tieth, Twenty-fourth, and Forty-fourth 
Massachusetts Regiments. Wherever 
there have been found officers, who 
served under him in the Fourth Bat- 
talion, there it was sure that precision 
of drill and exact discipline and good 
tone would be found. 

It was no light thing for one so 


young to thus take charge of a body of 
high-spirited young men, and to make 
their term of service a season of genu- 
ine improvement, instead of one of 
profitless amusement. 

He was a man such as the service 
and the country can ill afford to lose, 
and his memory will live in the hearts 
of all of us who have known him. 

I hope most heartily that Robert 
may escape all the calamities of war, 
and soon be restored to you and your 
family. Please assure your wife and 
daughter of my sympathy, and believe 
me, my dear Sir, 

Faithfully yours, 

F. W. Palfrey. 

Baltimore, May 16th, 1864. 

My dear Mr. and Mrs. Stevenson, 

I have heard with the deepest sor- 
row of the death of oar dear Tom, and 
beg to offer to you my sincere and 
earnest sympathy. 

From the depth of my own grief 
at the loss of a dear and valued friend, 
I can form some faint conception of 
the deeper anguish of his family. 

Would that it were in my power 
to say aught that might afford to them 
consolation in this hour of sorrow and 


I knew him so well and loved him 
so much, and had so much respect for 
the manliness and kindness of his char- 
acter, that I can truly say that I feel 
his death as the greatest affliction 
which I have ever been called upon 
to endure. 

I am sure also that all those, with 
whom he has been associated in social 
or military life, will participate in the 
sorrow which fills my own heart, and 
will deplore his early death as a great 
personal loss. 

Hoping that you can find consola- 
tion in the remembrance of his worth, 
and in the conviction that he has left 
behind him an untarnished name, I 

Your sympathizing and sorrowful 


John F. Anderson. 

Bermuda Hundred, Va., May 15th, 1864. 

How can I express to the parents 
of my best friend the sympathy I have 
for them or the grief that occupies my 
own heart upon the receipt of a letter 
from Captain Vaill announcing the sad 
fate of my dear Tom. 

You well know the love that I felt 
for him, and I feel proud to think that 
the affection was mutual. It is a great 
grief to me that I was not with him, 
and that he did not die in my arms. 
Ever since the commencement of this 
campaign, I have felt the greatest im- 
patience to be with him. I always had 


a feeling that I could take care of him 
and protect him from harm. I felt in 
him the delight of a friend, the pride 
of a father, the confidence of a brother, 
and sometimes the anxiety of a mother. 
He used to say to me, when I urged him 
to be prudent and to take more care of 
his own health, " You remind me of 
mother " ; and I would reply, " Then 
I know that I am doing right." 

To you, who know him and love 
him so well, it is not necessary for me 
to say, what I have always said to 
others, of his great, noble, generous, 
manly, and unselfish character; of the 
great love that every one, who was 
brought into contact with him, felt 
for him ; and of the singular absence 
of anything like envy of his bright po- 
sition on the part of his compeers. 


He had a glorious future before 
him ; but a wise God has taken him, 
and you will perhaps leave this world 
with less reluctance, knowing that he 
is there to meet you. Time may soften 
the grief we all feel, but it can never 
obliterate the sweet memory of one of 
the purest and sweetest friendships that 
I ever enjoyed. 

I cannot refrain from quoting the 
lines, which have been in my mind 
ever since I heard the sad news: — 

" But vouth's fair form, though fallen, is ever fair, 
And beautiful in death the boy appears, 
The Hero boy, that dies in blooming years. 
In man's regret he lives, and woman's tears, 
More sacred than in life, and lovelier far 
For having perished in the front of war." 

I wish not to intrude upon your 
holy sorrow, but I feel that I must tell 
you a little of what I feel. I hope 

8 9 

that your interest in the success of the 
glorious cause, for which your son has 
died, will be as fresh as ever, and that 
your loss will still more endear to you 
our unhappy country ; and that the 
Lord may temper to you this sad 
affliction is the earnest prayer of 
Your sincere friend, 



Jamaica Plain. 

My dear Friend and Classmate, — 

The sad news of the death of your 
brave and noble son reached me when 
absent from home. Great as is his loss 
to the country, it is still greater to his 
young friends, while to you and his 
immediate family it is irreparable. The 
young officers under his command were 
strongly attached to him and felt the 
greatest confidence in his judgment and 
military ability. My son, Colonel S. 
M. Weld, Jun., of the Fifty-sixth 
Regiment, while awaiting at Annap- 

9 1 

olis the filling up of the Ninth Corps, 
was troubled by the want of discipline 
and raw appearance of some of the 
new regiments, which were to be at- 
tached to it. At last he wrote to me : 
"Dear Father, — A load is lifted from 
my heart. General Stevenson is to join 
our corps/' And when he fell he 
wrote to me " that the corps had lost 
a most valuable officer, his division its 
brightest ornament, and he himself a 
true friend." 

But " dulce et decorum est pro p atria 
tnori," and although he has given up his 
young life for his country, he was old 
if " wisdom is gray hairs, and an un- 
spotted life old age." 

That God may grant to you that 
consolation and comfort which he 
alone can give, and that he may long 


spare to you your other brave soldier- 
son, is the earnest wish of 

Your true and life-long friend, 

Stephen M. Weld. 

Morris Island, S. C, June zd, 1864. 

Dear Sir, — 

I am prompted by a sense of duty 
and of love for the memory of Gen- 
eral Stevenson to address a line to 

It is not possible to express in 
words my feelings upon the receipt 
of the news of his death. I would 
not attempt it. 

Two years of my enlistment were 
spent in his service. I became strongly 
attached to him. I loved him as every 
private did who ever served under him. 

When he left this Island, sick and 


to go North, how sad I felt thinking 
that perhaps he never would return. 
The day after his departure I joined 
the Fifty-fourth Regiment Massachu- 
setts Volunteers, as second lieutenant. 
I feel that I owe my promotion to him 
alone ; for it was his influence, his 
teachings, his example, that fitted me 
for the position which I now hold. 

Just before leaving the Island the 
General placed in my hands his sword, 
— a trust which I almost trembled to 
accept. He said to me, " Keep this, 
Duren, until I return, and do not lose 
it." I am glad that he said this to me, 
although it was not necessary ; for at 
the time I felt like assuring him that 
it should be lost only with my life. 

I have carried it through one fight, 
I hope worthily. 


Now I am happy to turn it over to 
you, knowing most certainly how you 
must value it ; but I must express to 
you my regret at parting with the 
General's own sword. It has been an 
honorable charge. I think that I have 
felt it. Though unworthy to carry a 
sword which has been so long and so 
nobly worn by our General, still I have 
tried not to forfeit, in any way, the 
right to such a charge. 

His memory is, and ever will be, 
fresh in my mind, and I try to live as 
he lived, and to follow, as nearly as I 
can, the lessons learned while with 
him. That is my wish, and, if God 
wills, to die, as he died, for my 

Very respectfully, 

C. M. Duren. 

Extract from an Address by Governor 
Andrew, in Faneuil Hall, to the 
Twenty -fourth Regiment, upon its re- 
turn to re-enlist. 

The presence, on this occasion, of 
one gentleman, whose military history 
is identified with that of your regi- 
ment, claims especial recognition. 

He entered the service as your Colo- 
nel, and commanded your regiment 
in camp and on the field, until, for 
meritorious service and remarkable ca- 
pacity as a soldier, he was promoted 
to be a General of Brigade. 


It was not necessary, in the presence 
of a single soldier of the Twenty- 
fourth Massachusetts Regiment, that 
one should eulogize his name in or- 
der to command this applause for Gen- 
eral Stevenson. You respect him as 
an officer, and love him as your pater- 
nal friend. I entertain for him a grati- 
tude which it gives me pleasure to 
confess ; and not alone for what he 
has done to increase the happiness and 
the efficiency of the men of his own 
regiment, but because, as a general 
officer, he fell in with what was once 
thought to be a pet weakness of my 
own, and, with open hand and heart, 
with the spirit of a soldier of the 
Union and a Massachusetts citizen, 
governed, protected, and cared for our 
Fifty-fourth Regiment, composed of 

9 8 

colored volunteers. So much has the 
position of the Fifty-fourth under him 
been coveted by its sister regiment, the 
Fifty-fifth, that I have been constantly 
urged to use what influence I could to 
secure its transfer to the same com- 

From the Boston Courier ', May 13, 1864. 

Our whole community will sym- 
pathize deeply with our fellow-citizen, 
Mr. Stevenson, and his family, in their 
loss of his gallant and most promising 

General Stevenson is a great public 
loss. Young, brave, devoted to his 
duty with a rare conscientiousness, he 
has fallen, another conspicuous victim 
to the fury of this direful war. None 
can forget the spirit and skill displayed 
by this young officer in training the 
Fourth Massachusetts Battalion, during 
the first summer of the Rebellion, and 


the great interest excited in him and 
his command. 

Just promotion rapidly followed 
upon the exhibition of his admira- 
ble qualities as a soldier, and he has 
been distinguished upon every field 
on which he has been engaged. It 
is but a few weeks since he left home, 
unable to resist the desire to be at his 
post, although really unfitted for active 
duty by reason of sickness, from the 
effects of which he had been slowly 
recovering. He will be deeply and 
widely lamented. 

From the Evening Transcript, May 12, 

Among the brave officers who lost 
their lives in Tuesday's battle, we re- 
gret to observe the name of General 
Thomas G. Stevenson, son of J. T. 
Stevenson, Esq., of this city. 

The news will sadden the hearts of 
a throng of personal friends, while the 
loss of so capable an officer cannot but 
be considered a calamity to the ser- 

General Stevenson was well known 
in Boston, before the war broke out, 
as the efficient commander of the 


Fourth Battalion of Infantry, which, 
under him, acquired a great reputation 
for discipline and drill. He raised a 
regiment — the Twenty-fourth — for 
the war, and was attached to Burnside's 
Roanoke Expedition. His commander, 
in urging his confirmation by the Sen- 
ate, as Brigadier General, said, " He 
was the best colonel I ever knew." 
At the time of his death, he was in 
command of a Division in Burnside's 

From the Daily Advertiser, May 13, 1 864. 

Among the brave men who fell on 
Tuesday, we are sorry to see the name 
of Brigadier-General Thomas G. Ste- 
venson of this city. 

General Stevenson was a son of our 
fellow-citizen, J. Thomas Stevenson, 
Esq. He was one of those young 
men whom our volunteer militia sys- 
tem had educated in the rudiments of 
the military art, having formerly been 
a member of the New England Guards, 
and being commander of the Fourth 
Battalion of Infantry at the breaking 
out of the war. 


After a term of garrison duty in 
the Harbor, he recruited the Twenty- 
fourth, or " New England Guards," 
Regiment in the fall of 1861, and was 
assigned to General Burnside's Expe- 
dition in the winter of 1861-62. 

Colonel Stevenson led his regiment 
at Roanoke Island and Newbern with 
much distinction. After arduous ser- 
vices in North Carolina, he was made 
a Brigadier General in December, 1862, 
and commanded a brigade at the as- 
sault of Fort Wagner. He was re- 
cently transferred to the Army of the 
Potomac, and, at the time of his death, 
commanded a division under General 
Burnside, by whom his merit as an 
officer had been repeatedly and warmly 
acknowledged. The country has lost 
in him a most active, intelligent, and 

io 5 

brave officer, whose memory will long 
be respected by his fellow-citizens, 
and by a large circle of attached 

From the Saturday Evening Gazette. 

The death of General Thomas G. 
Stevenson is a loss which is felt beyond 
the domestic circle, and embraces not 
only his legion of personal friends, but 
our whole community. 

Hundreds, who knew him only by 
reputation, will unite in paying a trib- 
ute to his memory, for his praises were 
ever on the lips of those who saw the 
sterling worth of this true man. 

Here, where he was reared, he was 
the centre of a circle of young men, 
who found in him those elements of 
character which won their admiration. 


He was their leader in manly sports, 
their friend and counsellor, and they 
looked up to him. 

Deception had no lurking-place in 
his heart. He was truthful in every 

Whatever he undertook, he accom- 
plished. When his attention was first 
given to military subjects he studied 
them with a zeal worthy of the great 
cause to which it was his fate to dedi- 
cate his life, and at the commencement 
of the war our State had in its military 
service no man of his years so accom- 
plished as he. 

He was content only when he felt 
himself equal to his position, and his 
merit alone gave to him the high rank 
which he held when he fell in the ser- 
vice of his country. 


Of his own good deeds he never 
spoke. His many good actions were 
never rehearsed by his tongue. When 
invited to Faneuil Hall, but a few 
weeks since, to meet his old regiment, 
nothing but the fear that his absence 
might be construed into indifference 
towards men whom he had led in bat- 
tle induced him to face those old 
friends, who told, by their long con- 
tinued cheers, in how many hearts his 
name had found an abiding place. 

His loss to the service is very great, 
— his loss to his family and friends is 
irreparable. The future seemed to 
have much in store for one who de- 
served its richest rewards, and his 
friends looked forward to his career 
with high hopes. 

He has passed away, leaving to them 


an unblemished reputation, and there 
is this great consolation, that his name 
will never be uttered but with respect, 
and his death will keep alive in our 
memory the noble devotion to his 
country, which this young soldier ex- 
hibited in the hour of its greatest 

From the Daily Advertiser . 


" The hand of the reaper 
Takes the ears that are hoarv, 
But the voice of the weeper 
Wails manhood in glorv. 

" Fleet foot on the correi, 
Sage counsel in cumber, 
Red hand in the forav, 
How sound is thy slumber ! " 

While brave men are falling by 
thousands, while the wires that flash 
the joyful news of victories vibrate 
with tidings of the wounded and dy- 
ing, while so many homes are made 
desolate, and the mourners go about 
the street, while so many more are 

1 1 1 

feverish with anxiety, dreading lest 
the next long list shall include the 
looked-for name, it seems almost in- 
vidious to challenge public sympathv 
for the loss of any one soldier, how- 
ever high his rank. 

But those who have watched the 
course of Brigadier-General Stevenson 
are aware that one of the most prom- 
ising officers of the army has fallen ; 
those who have served under him will 
feel that one of the bravest, wisest, 
kindest commanders has been taken 
away from them ; those who came 
within the wide circle of his friend- 
ship, who have been warmed by his 
cordial smile, have felt his hearty grasp, 
know that they have lost a faithful 
friend ; those who have entered his 
happy home realize the peculiar poig- 

I 12 

nancy of this bereavement, that in that 
darkened house the silver cord is loosed 

As a soldier, his imperturbable cool- 
ness, quick insight, unerring judgment, 
and thorough mastery of his art, at- 
tracted at once the attention of his 
superiors, and rapidly won their enthu- 
siastic admiration. 

As an officer, his abilities com- 
manded confidence, his almost stern 
dignity inspired fear, his friendly coun- 
sel, given with feminine tact, awakened 
gratitude, his postponement of his own 
comfort to that of his men, his disre- 
gard of self, his tender care of those 
committed to his charge, created a pas- 
sionate attachment. 

Off duty, he was the bosom friend of 
the youngest lieutenant ; on duty, he 

IJ 3 

was the commander ; and this trans- 
formation was complete, the boundary 
line was distinct. 

It was difficult to say whether fear 
or love predominated in the hearts of 
those who followed him and idolized 

The list of Massachusetts officers 
comprises many men of brilliant in- 
tellects and heroic hearts, but we have 
never known one who had such a 
happy combination of all the qualities 
of head and heart that go to make a 
perfect soldier and a successful com- 
mander, as Thomas G. Stevenson. 

H. L., Jun. 

From the Boston Journal, May 13, 1864. 


Every battle adds to the long roll 
of gallant dead, which already numbers 
some of the best and the bravest of the 
sons of Massachusetts. 

The announcement yesterday that 
Brigadier-General Thomas G. Steven- 
son had been killed filled many hearts 
with sadness. 

A truer patriot, a more gallant sol- 
dier, and a better citizen has not given 
his life to his country. 

General Stevenson was the son of 
our respected fellow-citizen, J. Thomas 

ll S 

Stevenson, Esq., and received his earli- 
est military education in the New Eng- 
land Guards. 

He was chosen Captain in the 
Fourth Battalion of Massachusetts In- 
fantry upon its organization, and was 
subsequently elected Major, and com- 
manded the battalion in 1861, when it 
garrisoned Fort Independence. 

On its return from that duty, he 
recruited the Massachusetts Twenty- 
fourth Regiment, which entered the 
service in Burnside's expedition to 
North Carolina. 

At the battle of Roanoke Island the 
regiment did efficient service, and Col- 
onel Stevenson distinguished himself 
for his coolness and bravery. 

He subsequently fought at Newbern, 
and, after that place was taken, took 


part in several expeditions into North 
Carolina, always proving himself a 
reliable and efficient officer, and win- 
ning his promotion as Brigadier-Gen- 
eral, which rank was conferred upon 
him December 27, 1862. He had 
been in command of a brigade pre- 
vious to that time. 

He was subsequently transferred, 
with his brigade, to the Department 
of South Carolina, and took part in all 
the movements which resulted in the 
capture of Morris Island, and the siege 
of Charleston. He commanded a bri- 
gade at the storming of Fort Wagner, 
where he again distinguished himself 
for his skill and valor. 

After a brief respite from long and 
arduous service in the Department of 
the South, General Stevenson had but 


recently been transferred to the Army 
of the Potomac, where he has fallen in 
the hottest of the fight with his face 
to the foe. 

A nobler sacrifice Massachusetts 
could not make ; but who shall meas- 
ure his loss to his family and friends ? 

His sterling qualities of the head 
and the heart attached to him many 
warm friends and will keep his mem- 
ory green, while his valor and patriot- 
ism, and his distinguished services, will 
cause his name to be written in letters 
of light on the scroll of fame. 

From the Boston Post. 

Of all the losses of gallant men, 
whom Massachusetts has been called 
upon to mourn in this war, no one 
has caused a greater or more general 
sorrow than that of General Thomas 
G. Stevenson. No one will be more 
universally missed than he. 

The path which he has trodden has 
been a bright and straight one from his 
boyhood forward to his death. In ad- 
dition to the great blank which that 
death produces in the immediate circle 
of his family and friends, it is to be 
greatly regretted that so bright an ex- 


ample of nobleness and honor has been 
so soon removed. 

At an early age he exhibited all 
those qualities which, strengthening 
with his years, tended to endear him 
to all who knew him. He was un- 
deceitful and straightforward in his 
intercourse with every one, courageous, 
sometimes even to a fault, generous 
and tender-hearted always, giving with 
a liberality that would have done honor 
to any one. It may be truly said that 
no mendicant ever appealed to him in 
vain, or turned away without having 
his pocket made heavier through his 
generosity and his heart lighter through 
some kind word from the lips of Tom 

The love of home was particu- 
larly strong in him Most of 


his friendships are of long standing. 
Formed in his youth, they have grown 
on with him, year by year, increasing 
in strength, and have been cemented 
by time and the unswerving fidelity of 
that true heart. He gave the strongest 
proof of true friendship, in not hesitat- 
ing to speak of a friend's fault and in 
striving to correct it ; yet he never lost 
a friend. He was constantly increasing 
their number. All who knew him 
respected him, — all who knew him 
well loved him and were jealous of 
his love. 

In his military career the same 
noble qualities, which had always dis- 
tinguished him in his civil life, speedily 
gained for him the respect and admira- 
tion of his superiors. His quick mind, 
which readily acquired anything pre- 


sented to it, his strict and unswerving 
attention to duty, his promptitude and 
eagerness to assist in the prosecution 
of the great work in which he was 
engaged, won for him golden opinions 
and encomiums from all. 

His kindness to the men under his 
command, whether on the march or 
in the hospital or in camp, together 
with the rigid discipline which he en- 
forced, won for him their love and 
esteem ; and there were few indeed 
who had served with General Steven- 
son who would not have died willingly 
to do him a service. 

But he has gone from amongst us, 

never again to return. Never will his 

hearty laugh be heard again, — never 

again will his clear, firm voice give 

out the orders to his soldiers. 

I 22 

Massachusetts may well be proud of 
such a son. She has none more noble 
on her rolls. 

Good son, true friend, gallant soldier, 
farewell ! The tears and moans of your 
friends and your country attest their 
love for you and follow you to your 

F. W. B. 

From the Army and Navy Journal. 


General Thomas G. Stevenson was 
the son of Hon. J. Thomas Stevenson 
of Boston. 

In the New England Guards — a 
militia company — he rapidly rose 
from the ranks through non-commis- 
sioned and commissioned grades, till 
the opening of the war found him 
Major of the Fourth Battalion of 
Massachusetts Infantry. 

At the Governor's call he took his 
command to Fort Independence, and 
performed a month's garrison duty 

I2 4 

Returning, he recruited the Twenty- 
fourth Infantry Regiment, in the fall 
of 1 86 1, personally drilling it with 
great care and skill. 

The regiment joined Foster's Bri- 
gade in General Burnside's Expedition, 
sailing from Annapolis, January 6, 
1862, taking part in the reduction of 
Roanoke Island, on February 8, and 
a full share in the capture of New- 
bern, on March 14. 

Washington, North Carolina, being 
taken a week later, the Twenty-fourth 
occupied and garrisoned it, successfully 
repelling the enemy's attack on it later 
in the year. 

Colonel Stevenson conducted several 
expeditions into the Rebel lines, having 
command of a brigade in . the recon- 
ndissance to Tarborough, and in the 

I2 5 

movement on Goldsborough in De- 

He took part in the spirited battles 
at Kinston and Whitehall. He was 
appointed a Brigadier-General, under 
date of December 24, 1862. 

General Foster having organized 
a land force for operations against 
Charleston or Wilmington, assigned 
General Stevenson to command a 
brigade in General Naglee's Division. 
Some difficulty arose, soon after, be- 
tween Generals Hunter and Stevenson, 
from the latter's disbelief at that time 
in the policy of arming slaves ; but it 
was speedily and honorably removed. 

General Stevenson assisted in the 
reduction of Morris Island, and, at the 
assault on Fort Wagner, in July, 1863, 
commanded the reserves. 

I 26 

In the fall of 1863 he returned 
North to recruit his health. 

Recently he was assigned to the 
charge of the First Division of the 
Ninth Corps, under his old command- 
er, General Burnside, with whom his 
merits had made him a favorite sub- 

He fell on Tuesday morning, May 
10, at half-past eight, a.m., in the 
severe battle at Spottsylvania, a rifle- 
ball piercing his head, while he was 
surrounded by his staff, cheerful and 
confident up to the moment he was 

The death of General Stevenson is a 
calamity to the Ninth Corps and to 
the army, as well as to the great corps 
and army of his personal friends. 

As a youth and a leader in athletic 


sports, he had attracted to himself very 
many of the young men of his native 
city, of whom he was the admired 

His manly and straightforward con- 
duct insured respect, and his sympa- 
thetic friendship inspired affection. 

He possessed, to a remarkable de- 
gree, that happy union of dignity and 
bon-hommie which made his bearing 
easy and familiar without the loss of 
any man's esteem. 

He entered the militia with charac- 
teristic energy, and quickly showed his 
superiority. He became unsurpassed 
as a drill-master and disciplinarian ; 
perhaps he was unequalled even in 
these respects by any man of his years 
in the State. 

Officers and men who have enjoyed 
his command, furnish unvarying tes- 


timony to his skill and popularity. 
The men in the ranks were moved 
to great respect for him. 

His brother officers and subalterns 
cherished mingled feelings of affection 
and esteem. 

His superiors had thorough confi- 
dence in him, Major-Generals Burn- 
side and Foster both bearing witness to 
the military turn of his character and 
to the maturity of his judgment. 

Struck dow r n at the age of twenty- 
eight, his career was full of promise. 
A wide circle of admirers will deplore 
his fate, as they were always proud to 
speak his praise. 

Devoid of boasting, truthful, honor- 
able, independent, kind to his men, 
generous and faithful in friendship, 
brave and cool in battle, careful, skil- 
ful and trustworthy in military dispo- 


sitions and in obedience to orders, 
General Stevenson has passed away to 
the swelling lists of the historic heroes 
of the war. 

Cambridge : Printed by Welch, Bigelow, & Co. 






A \\ r *i 

1 - 1 l 

IP *H 



WW 1 

w - i 


*kui i 

ara ^^ v^sreya